Author Archives: MartyFriedman

Hate Selling? Try Doing This Instead

Do you sometimes hate selling? It makes me feel slimy when I have a hidden agenda to sell somebody consulting services. When I try to get clients to buy something I end up subtly trying to manipulate them, and then I feel even worse that I’m not being genuine, not being myself. Can you relate to this? There are whole libraries full of sales books and you’ll find very little about true integrity anywhere. These books dress up manipulation in fancy language and they’re steeped in trickery of one sort … Read More

Four Reasons Clients Reject Your Great Ideas

Every consultant’s been there: You’re ready to present your best recommendations to a client. You’ve got charts, logic, visuals, benefits, a well-thought-out argument, and more. You do your best and put it all out there…and somehow you’re faced with a brick wall. What happened? It’s critical that you’ve done your homework before you present recommendations: You’ve listened well, and understood the client’s short and long-term needs. You’ve learned as much as you can about their business. You’ve verified their criteria for making a decision, and you’ve made sure that you’re … Read More

Five Easy Closes for Consulting Sales

You’ve had conversations with a client. You’ve moved the lead along and now you think it’s time to close new consulting business. What’s the best way to close? Try using old-time sales closes and you’re likely to feel manipulative and even a little slimy. Besides, tricky closes like “The Ben Franklin” and “The Porcupine” (don’t ask) destroy your chance to create the trusting client relationships you need to bring home a successful projects. Here are five easy closes we teach in “The Power of Partnership” training: 1.The Summary Playback Close … Read More

18 Great Tips & Reminders to Help You Create More Powerful Partnerships with Clients

1) You can start to build a partnership with clients the first time you meet them—and you can build it up or tear it down at every meeting thereafter. 2) Along with delivering great work, your objective on any project should be to build a partnership with your clients. 3) Stop blaming your clients for their behavior, and start changing how you interact with them. 4) The goal is to move to a partnership with your client, so that you are providing lasting value and the customer commits to a … Read More

What Makes Clients Turn Your Direction

If you’ve sold to or consulted with clients, you’ve undoubtedly faced a challenge: explaining to your clients how their needs can be met with your services. We address various kinds of needs in our training course, The Power of Partnership, and many others have written extensively about human needs and how they operate (see for example the works of Abraham Maslow or Frederick Hertzberg). In the world of convincing others, the conventional wisdom is “provide the benefit to fill the need”. But what do you do if your clients believe … Read More

Technical Consultants: How to Move From “Talking Tech” to “Talking Business”

Many otherwise powerful and skillful technical consultants grow pale at the very thought of discussing their clients’ business issues with them. Those consultants can talk all day about the various features and capabilities of their services and products, but they freeze up when the conversation turns away from technology and toward business. Talking business can be intimidating if you’re a consultant who wants to have all the answers and give advice. But here’s the secret: you don’t have to be an expert on a business to talk about it; you … Read More

Why Clients Resist Facts and Logic

The world would be a very different place if your clients lived and communicated in the world of facts. Every conversation would be so easy; it would all be right there on the surface. If a client thought your project was going badly he or she would just tell you straight out the simple facts to make a case. There’d be no blaming, no evasion, no hidden agendas, and no upset feelings. What a dream world! Here’s the way it really works: The truth is that clients, like all of … Read More

Partnership-Based Persuasion

We may convince others by our arguments, but we can only persuade them by their own. -Joseph Joubert The above quote about persuasion was written by a Frenchman in the 1820’s, but of course we humans have tried to persuade each other “by our arguments” well before language was invented. The methods of persuasion in the pre-language times likely weren’t so subtle. On the other hand, think of “The Godfather” saying, “I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse.” That’s not so subtle either. Come to think of it, I’ve … Read More

Four Ways to Persuade a Client With Integrity

If you’ve tried to sell clients to provide resources or time or purchase new services you know it can be difficult to convince others, and more difficult still do it with complete integrity. Maybe you’ve been uneasy with the persuasive trickery or manipulative techniques that you’ve read about or see others try. It can feel pretty uneasy when you try to twist clients into your way of thinking. Beyond that, when clients feel that you’re “selling” them, the trust you’ve built with them can go out the window. Trust, of … Read More

The Disease of Expertise

If you’re like most consultants you love to provide great answers to your clients. And after all, isn’t your expertise what clients are paying you for? Well, yes and no. In our work with some of the largest Professional Service organizations in the world as well as smaller start-up companies, we’ve found a problem we call “the disease of expertise”: consultants like to give clients their best answers before they have even heard the client’s full view of the problem! This is counter-productive for two main reasons: Clients are more … Read More